Welcome to week number two from Jolly Olde England. Last week, Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco turned on Kurt Angle, and revealed themselves as members of Aces and Eights. Austin Aries earned a title shot for himself and Bobby Roode to face the tag team champions, Chavo and Hernandez. And above all, Bully Ray and Sting get their shot at the Aces guys in a tables match. What happens tonight?
They show a recap that features the Hulk/Bully Ray/Brooke/Aces and Eights saga. They show the setup of the tables match and Garrett and Wes turning on Kurt. The three-man announcer booth checks in on commentary.
Aces and Eights come to the ring, featuring Devon, Mr. Anderson, DOC, Brisco and Bischoff, and one masked man. Devon gets a mic and recalls saying the group would dominate 2013 and says they are kicking in TNA's front door. They show the end of the cage match from last week again.
Devon gets the "what?" treatment as he introduces the new members. Garrett acknowledges the fans getting on him and says he received complete disrespect. He says "to hell with you" and puts over Aces and Eights as his family.
Brisco says Hogan wouldn't return his calls for two years, and once he did, Hogan said he had to start at the bottom and work up. "A Brisco at the bottom?" he asks and says his dad gave Kurt Angle his first pair of boots. Fans get on him with "you can't wrestle" chants.
Devon says Kurt Angle shouldn't think about coming back. He says it's fine that Hogan booked the main-event tables match because Aces always has backup. "We will always have an ace up our sleeve."
It felt like the fans were mocking these guys rather than generating real heat. They did keep it short and the explanations from Bischoff and Brisco were at least legitimate.
Tara and Jesse pay a visit to Brooke Hogan's office. They complain about the cold and the lack of first-class treatment. Brooke calls them selfish. Tara rants about not having a massage. Brooke tells Tara she will face Miss Tessmacher, with Jesse barred from ringside. Brooke then tells Jesse to get her a coffee.
Brooke wasn't great, but she is showing signs of improving in these segments.
Match #1 - Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Zema Ion vs. Kenny King; X-Division Championship fought under Triple Threat Rules
King gets an offensive run first, hitting a corkscrew dive on Van Dam. Ion flips over the ropes onto both men. Keneley puts over an appearance by Dixie Carter on Bellator after iMPACT for a big announcement about going on the road.
Later, King and Ion work the match while Van Dam sells. King hits a Northern Lights suplex on Ion. Van Dam comes back with a Five Star Frog Splash on King, then covers Ion for the win.
Ion and King got some time to shine, but the overall match seemed to not work really well. And I really want them to get the strap off Van Dam - he just seems to be mowing through top contenders as a heavyweight.
Aries and Roode talk about how they're unstoppable when they put their minds to it and put the ego aside. They still verbally jab though when Roode says they were both champions but he was the longest running one.
Tenay feeds it to a recap of the British Bootcamp reality show that aired in the UK, then they recap the Bischoff/Brisco segment.
Bruce Pritchard and D-Lo talk about Bischoff and Brisco. Pritchard says they bent over backward to make Bischoff feel welcome despite his name. He also says he has known Wes all his life and he was the last one he'd expect to do what he did. He says he and D-Lo can look at themselves in the mirror and see who is responsible for bringing Brisco to TNA.
What was that? Did it really mean anything?
Jesse comes to the ring and talks about Brooke banning him from ringside during Tara's match. He tells the fans he will give them a chance to see a star and poses for photos. James Storm's music hits and he comes out.
Storm says the people didn't pay for taking pictures, they paid to see people get beat up. He says Tara saved Jesse from the Last Call last week. He says he will kick the crap out of Jesse, drink some beer, then pick up Jesse so people could see him without teeth.
Match #2 - James Storm vs. Jesse
Storm ends up getting a bloody nose early. He dominates start to finish, hitting Eye of the Storm then the Last Call as he promised. Afterward, he sets Jesse up and asks him what he thinks. Storm mocks his voice and says "sorry about my damn luck, Cowboy."
Storm is lost in no man's land right now, booking-wise. His promo was well-received and the fans got behind him though. Jesse seemed comfortable on the mic in his promo.
The announcers hype up the tag match coming up.
Match #3 - Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez (c) vs. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode; TNA Tag Team Championship
Aries gloats and tries to get a high five from Roode but Roode avoids that by clapping his hands. He didn't want to work with Hernandez. Roode pulls Chavo from the ring a bit later and hangs onto him while Aries tries a suicide dive. That backfires because Chavo breaks loose and Aries crashes into Roode. After a commercial, Chavo works on Aries, but the fans chant for Aries.
The announcers talk about a British dessert called spotted dick. Seriously. The champions take control working quick tags, but the heels catch Chavo and work him over. Hernandez gets the hot tag and runs some power move offense. Chavo gets the tag and hits two of the Three Amigos on Aries, but Aries counters the third into the Brainbuster.
Chavo avoids by shoving Aries into Roode. Roode gets bent and walks off. Hernandez teases the Border Toss and Chavo goes up top. Roode returns to the match and shoves Chavo off the ropes. Roode tosses Hernandez out. The finish sequence comes when Aries hits a corner drop kick, then Roode hits a spinebuster. Aries hits the 450 splash to get the win.
That was fun down the stretch. Curious move to have Aries use the 450 but it was a good finish, even as a heel (not a normal move to have a heel use).
Announce position is a disaster. Taz is just a heel color guy. I don't think they needed to put him with Aces in order to accomplish that.
Sting and Brooke Hogan excuse themselves to let Hulk and Bully talk. Hogan says the tables match is right up Bully's alley. He wants things to end tonight and it's on Ray to prove how wrong Hulk is. Hulk says nothing would make him happier than Ray to show the world how good a guy he is.
Ray says he's not a good guy and hasn't forgotten what Aces did to him, Sting, or Hulk. Ray asks Hogan if he knows who he is. "I'm Bully Ray, and I ain't no good guy, I'm a very bad one." Hogan says if Ray is family, this match is in his wheelhouse and this ends tonight. Ray tells Hogan to consider it done and Hulk flashes a devious grin as Ray leaves.
They show some local sights and recap AJ's tough 2012.
Match #4 - Miss Tessmacher vs. Tara
Tara looks depressed since she can't have Jesse with her. Late in this one, Tessmacher shakes her crotch in Tara's face in the ropes. Taz calls it "interesting offense." Tara pushes her away and drops Tessmacher on the turnbuckle. Tessmacher hits her finisher though and pins Tara.
We've seen better from these two. The live crowd enjoyed seeing the women though.
JB is in the ring and he introduces the winner of British Bootcamp, Rockstar Spud. He gets a good reaction. He starts to rave about being where he wants to be, but gets interrupted by Robbie E and Robbie T.
E says it's a travesty that Spud won, unless they're hiring midgets. Taz says there's no place for short people in the business. Robbie keeps up the insults, and Spud has had enough. They go face to face, but E hides behind T. E tells Spud that T will knock him out if he tells T to.
T drops the clipboard list and bent over to get it. Spud punches E and E rolls out. T stands up, adjusts the clipboard, and plays dumb. E throws a fit at ringside. Spud plays T's arm to the music then makes a devil horn sign.
Spud has some natural charisma, it seems. E did a good job with the heel routine and cutting him up. The live crowd ate it up, but it's a bit lost in transition here in the US.
Sting and Bully chat. Ray says he won't let Sting down and vows to put the Aces guys through tables. Brooke asks if they're ready and Sting tells Ray to put his game face on. Ray says he might put the war paint on. Sting yells it's showtime, then Ray does. Brooke follows suit then tells Ray "go get 'em, Tiger."
Tolerating Brooke in this moment feels like asking a lot. The Aces feel so interchangeable, so you never know who Sting and Ray will face.
They recap the Hardy attack from a couple weeks ago. Tenay says the MRI showed no damage and Hardy will be back on iMPACT. Taz acts disappointed.
Match #5 - Sting and Bully Ray vs. Devon and DOC; fought under tables match rules
Sting and Ray both do the face-paint thing. They run the first series of offense. Taz actually seems to invest himself in the match as he calls this. No real tag team rules here, as all four men brawl in the ring at the same time. Sting and Ray control the match going into commercial.
After commercial, control has been traded to Aces. DOC chokes Ray with a collar. Ray manages to get the collar and Sting is able to turn the tide. Sting and Ray channel the Team 3D gimmick with Sting holding Devon's legs out and Ray hitting a headbutt to the groin. They shove each other and yell "get the tables!" The live crowd yelled with them.
Sting and Ray bring in a table but Devon and DOC regain control of the match. Sting catches DOC and tries for a superplex through the table, but Knox runs out through the crowd and moves the table. Devon accidentally punches Knox while Sting and DOC fight at ringside.
In the ring, Devon throws hands at Ray, who completely no-sells it. His eyes get big and he hulks up in his own way. Taz mocks "are you kidding me, what the hell is going on here?" Ray does his own Hulk routine, with the big boot included. He slams Devon through a table to get the win.
Afterward, Hulk and Brooke come out and clap for Sting and Ray. Hulk raises their hands and the live crowd gives a cheer. Hogan plays to the crowd with his "cupped ear" bit then hugs Ray. Tenay says Taz was so disgusted he walked away from commentary so Tenay has to handle the replay call.
Tack another loss on Aces and Eights. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse by saying the faction isn't able to be taken seriously because of it, but it's true.
The live crowd atmosphere really makes the show feel so much better. The Manchester crowds were into the events, and it added to the show immensely. We'll be getting two more taped shows from London over the next two weeks, so that should continue.
TNA definitely didn't forward stories tonight, at least it didn't feel like it to me. I didn't understand the vibe that Aces and Eights would be done if Sting and Ray won the main event. Hogan and Ray seemed to imply it a lot, but it's not what happened.
I also felt like they'd do a better job of hyping up Dixie Carter's appearance on Bellator for her "announcement." They left that build a bit by the side as well.
Join us again next Thursday night as we bring you yet another show from Jolly Olde England here on Ring-Rap.com.